Fill the Racks began at 7:30 AM on a quiet snowy Wednesday morning on 2 May 2012 at J. Russell Elementary School. The first order of business was moving the bike racks to a more prominent location in front of the school! With an unexpected snowstorm, it was unknown how many students would brave the weather for the event this year which was coined the “Polar” Fill the Racks. To everyone’s surprise, Russell surpassed all expectations with a 300% increase in student participation from last year!
Several factors made Russell successful: support from Paradise Creek Bicycles for the purchase of raffle items, support from Safe Routes 2 School who purchased the raffle items, provided bracelet incentives, student council made announcements in all classrooms and they fully endorsed the idea of a school-wide BBQ as a reward if they Filled the Racks. In addition, student council advisor Mr. Eric Hudelson organized 4 bike train routes with leaders situated west, north, south, east of Russell Elementary at Rosauers, N. Polk at PCEI, A & W and Safeway. Mr. Hudelson made flyers and announcements to encourage participation. Principal Norman fully embraced the event wearing his new bicycle sunglasses and taking pictures while greeting all the students, teachers and parents who road, scootered and walked to school.
All the students who participated entered raffle drawings for water bottles, bike locks, bells and lights which Mr. Norman announced later that day. The bike trains were met with cheers and applause as they arrived at school. It was exciting to count and congratulate the students who bike and walk to school everyday as part of their routine as well. At last count they had 49 students and adults bike/scooter to school and 82 including walkers (see photo) compared to 12 last year. Way to go J. Russell Elementary! Russell’s next event: Bike to BBQ – can’t wait!